Wynwood Officially becomes a work-and-play neighborhood

Wynwood Officially becomes a work-and-play neighborhood

The first-ever office building to debut in Miami’s famed arts district will break groud early near year. Cube Wynwd, an Arquitectonica-designed eight-story office building owned by RedSky Capital, will feature retail space and a rooftop terrace for workers. RedSky Capital originally purchased the land for $5.85 million. (South Florida Business Journal)

 

Power Leaders in Real Estate

April 14, 2017

In many ways, South Florida’s skylines, shorelines and cityscapes have helped define our global appearance. They’re attractive, iconic and world class.

Many of the architects, developers, real estate professionals and property owners behind our marquee and emerging developments are as well-known as the projects they’ve become associated with.

But who are these executives?

With this year’s Power Leaders in Real Estate list, we decided to probe a little more to get a better glimpse into what personal history and philosophies have driven their success. We asked about their greatest career accomplishments, what motivates – or “drives” – them, what have been their greatest rewards and challenges, even what one question they would ask of one person.

What we get is a glimpse into the minds behind the properties. What we discover are the personalities who continue to make South Florida a thriving global destination.

Tere Blanca

CEO, Blanca Commercial Real Estate

www.blancacre.com

1450 Brickell Ave., Suite 2060, Miami 33131

(305) 577-8850

Birthplace: Cuba

Education: B.B.A. and M.B.A., University of Miami

Biggest reward/biggest challenge: Most rewarding is seeing clients thrive thanks to the solutions we provided, and seeing our community benefit from my firm’s volunteerism and support. Most challenging is juggling responsibilities to my work, community and family.

Personal elevator speech: I honor each day fully, waking up and going to sleep acknowledging what I am most grateful for that day and visualizing my life the day after.

Advice to your college-graduate self: Life is a journey that leads you to unexpected opportunities. Be open to all possibilities.

Looking To The Next Generation For Office Space Needs

MIAMI—Tere Blanca of Blanca Commercial Real Estate unpacks the process for professional service firms as they redesign their office spaces to align with the “workplace of the future” in this EXCLUSIVE commentary.

“Savvy firms are deploying proven methodologies to overcome the obstacles and maximize the opportunities,” writes Blanca.

MIAMI—A rapidly growing number of professional service firms are redesigning their office spaces to align with the “workplace of the future” and reap benefits including improving collaboration, client and partner service, employee recruitment and retention and technology integration. Along the way, they are recognizing that the process is far more complex than merely relocating to a trendier part of town. Savvy firms are deploying proven methodologies to overcome the obstacles and maximize the opportunities.

Professionals today are more focused on the design and location of their offices because they see the impacts on productivity, collaboration, cross selling and cohesion, as well as the ability to attract high-quality employees, particularly millennials. The office space also is an important part of the overall brand experience, as internal and external stakeholders are influenced by the look, feel, and utility of the space.

The latest studies on workplace design confirm that professional services firms are adopting innovative floor plans that incorporate plenty of natural light, open spaces that promote collaboration and innovative workspace configurations to accommodate diverse work processes and projects. They also are incorporating high-tech amenities such as high-tech conference facilities with media walls to connect employees with clients and partners across all points of the globe.

Many firms that have undertaken such redesigns have encountered challenges including internal issues building consensus, understanding their own needs and identifying the right design to support their unique business objectives. The conflicts are often more significant for larger companies in which multiple generations are represented within their leadership, resulting in differing visions for the companies and the office styles that best align to their missions.

These conflicts stem from the fact that until recently, professional service companies have embraced more traditional décor and have kept executives working behind closed doors of individual offices. However, if these companies want to compete for today’s new generation of professionals, they must adapt to their demands: more modern-looking environments with open, collaborative office layouts and the flexibility to work remotely.

Without a doubt, the professional service firms that have successfully transitioned to more modern office designs have taken their office moves more seriously than in years past. Rather than merely hiring commercial real estate advisors based on personal relationships, they are hiring them based on criteria including professional service industry experience, local market insight and a proven methodology to guide them through the process. They are working closely with these advisors to conduct thorough analyses, build internal consensus and guide progress through each stage of the process to ensure they find the dynamic office environments that support their unique needs.

In our experience working with professional-services firms, we have found it helpful to focus on a base set of criteria from the outset, including:

1. Your company’s brand identity and strategic business goals. This should be a key driver as you evaluate your options, either at your existing space or at another location. By kick-starting an internal dialogue on who you are as a company and who you want to become, you can begin to consider some key questions: What type of talent do you want to attract and retain? Are you interested in attracting a younger generation of millennials who are motivated by collaboration and flexibility? What types of clients and partners are you targeting? Do you wish to be known as a traditional, conservative company or as an innovative, forward-thinking company?

2. Your financial goals. It is critical to consider your budget, the amount you are currently spending on your space and the amount you would ideally be comfortable spending. It is important to keep in mind that an experienced commercial real estate broker can help you find the optimal space to meet your needs while significantly reducing your occupancy costs. Do not assume that bigger offices will necessarily cost more. On the contrary, by implementing an efficient workplace design, a professional service company can often reduce its footprint and maintain ample room for growth while increasing productivity. Ultimately, the key is to get the space right by working with experts who can help you find creative ways to affordably obtain your perfect office.

3.  Your company culture. It is important to consider how you want your team, clients and partners to experience your office. How do you want people to feel when they arrive and leave your office? What is the first impression you want your office to convey? Do you want a high-end corporate reception area that “wows” and impresses visitors upfront, or do you want a warm, welcoming area that makes visitors feel comfortable and at home? Do you want your team members to enter your office through a brightly lit open area that facilitates interaction? How would elements like more natural light and communal areas impact your office dynamics? Within your office, do you want to foster more cross-selling between divisions and provide access to the latest technologies? Would your clients, partners and other stakeholders appreciate access to state-of- the-art conference rooms where they can conduct virtual meetings with clients and partners around the world?

4.  The decision makers. The key to achieving the optimum outcome for your office space is to gain consensus early in the process and to identify an appropriate group of decision makers who will be responsible for identifying the right space for the firm. Smaller groups tend to be nimbler and more effective than boards, which often leads to too many cooks in the kitchen and navigating numerous conflicting viewpoints. In some cases, it may also make sense to work with a designated office selection committee to develop a narrow list of potential properties to present to the company’s management for consideration.

5. The advisors. Finding the right office space can be a daunting task to undertake on your own, so it is crucial to identify the right advisors. Your advisor should conduct a comprehensive assessment, complete with thorough financial analyses and forecasts to demonstrate that it fully understands your current situation, and identify viable solutions that align with your future business goals. The firm should help guide your key decision makers through a brainstorming session that will help define your company’s immediate needs as well as looking ahead five, 10 and 20 years. This analysis will ultimately help you define and establish the priorities for your office space. When you have completed these steps, it is important to address the office search in phases:

Phase One: Begin by having your leadership team establish and reach consensus on vision, space criteria, timeline, and a recommended strategy. In the first phase, you must ensure that your company gets these parameters right. Toward that end, it may be advisable to issue a request for proposals to identify an appropriate architectural firm to conduct an occupancy analysis and confirm your optimal space programmatic needs. This will help you identify which industry best practices to incorporate as you identify the best ways to design and utilize your new office space. At this stage, it is also critical to have honest internal discussions with key executives to confirm the ideal design and utilization plan for the offices.

Phase Two: Develop a scorecard that establishes a basis that informs your decision-making process and helps you make the best selections. This scorecard should consider an array of key factors including geographic location, parking, on-site amenities, tenant services, walkability, and access to public transit.

At this stage, you should begin to engage the market with your established office requirements. Developing a short list of contenders and touring your top choices will give you greater leverage for your future tenancy as the current landlords and owners of prospective new locations begin recognizing your name and your interest. It also will ensure that your firm is well-positioned to secure the most favorable outcomes and seize immediate opportunities as they present themselves.

Phase 3: When the team has reached consensus on the top two or three options, your commercial real estate advisor should negotiate terms based on the criteria and benchmarks established in phases one and two. Then, your advisor should help you complete a lease or renewal amendment, and remain engaged with you throughout the process, from preliminary renovations to ultimately moving into the new space. Indeed, transitioning to “the workplace of the future” is an exciting moment that can be positively transformative for professional service companies. To ensure your business capitalizes on this important shift, it is critical to follow proven best practices and methodologies to ensure the best-possible results. Professional service firms that do this can gain a significant competitive advantage and better position themselves for continued success.

Looking To The Next Generation For Office Space Needs

MIAMI—Tere Blanca of Blanca Commercial Real Estate unpacks the process for professional service firms as they redesign their office spaces to align with the “workplace of the future” in this EXCLUSIVE commentary.

April 10, 2017

“Savvy firms are deploying proven methodologies to overcome the obstacles and maximize the opportunities,” writes Blanca.

MIAMI—A rapidly growing number of professional service firms are redesigning their office spaces to align with the “workplace of the future” and reap benefits including improving collaboration, client and partner service, employee recruitment and retention and technology integration. Along the way, they are recognizing that the process is far more complex than merely relocating to a trendier part of town. Savvy firms are deploying proven methodologies to overcome the obstacles and maximize the opportunities.

Professionals today are more focused on the design and location of their offices because they see the impacts on productivity, collaboration, cross selling and cohesion, as well as the ability to attract high-quality employees, particularly millennials. The office space also is an important part of the overall brand experience, as internal and external stakeholders are influenced by the look, feel, and utility of the space.

The latest studies on workplace design confirm that professional services firms are adopting innovative floor plans that incorporate plenty of natural light, open spaces that promote collaboration and innovative workspace configurations to accommodate diverse work processes and projects. They also are incorporating high-tech amenities such as high-tech conference facilities with media walls to connect employees with clients and partners across all points of the globe.

Many firms that have undertaken such redesigns have encountered challenges including internal issues building consensus, understanding their own needs and identifying the right design to support their unique business objectives. The conflicts are often more significant for larger companies in which multiple generations are represented within their leadership, resulting in differing visions for the companies and the office styles that best align to their missions.

These conflicts stem from the fact that until recently, professional service companies have embraced more traditional décor and have kept executives working behind closed doors of individual offices. However, if these companies want to compete for today’s new generation of professionals, they must adapt to their demands: more modern-looking environments with open, collaborative office layouts and the flexibility to work remotely.

Without a doubt, the professional service firms that have successfully transitioned to more modern office designs have taken their office moves more seriously than in years past. Rather than merely hiring commercial real estate advisors based on personal relationships, they are hiring them based on criteria including professional service industry experience, local market insight and a proven methodology to guide them through the process. They are working closely with these advisors to conduct thorough analyses, build internal consensus and guide progress through each stage of the process to ensure they find the dynamic office environments that support their unique needs.

In our experience working with professional-services firms, we have found it helpful to focus on a base set of criteria from the outset, including:

1. Your company’s brand identity and strategic business goals. This should be a key driver as you evaluate your options, either at your existing space or at another location. By kick-starting an internal dialogue on who you are as a company and who you want to become, you can begin to consider some key questions: What type of talent do you want to attract and retain? Are you interested in attracting a younger generation of millennials who are motivated by collaboration and flexibility? What types of clients and partners are you targeting? Do you wish to be known as a traditional, conservative company or as an innovative, forward-thinking company?

2. Your financial goals. It is critical to consider your budget, the amount you are currently spending on your space and the amount you would ideally be comfortable spending. It is important to keep in mind that an experienced commercial real estate broker can help you find the optimal space to meet your needs while significantly reducing your occupancy costs. Do not assume that bigger offices will necessarily cost more. On the contrary, by implementing an efficient workplace design, a professional service company can often reduce its footprint and maintain ample room for growth while increasing productivity. Ultimately, the key is to get the space right by working with experts who can help you find creative ways to affordably obtain your perfect office.

3.  Your company culture. It is important to consider how you want your team, clients and partners to experience your office. How do you want people to feel when they arrive and leave your office? What is the first impression you want your office to convey? Do you want a high-end corporate reception area that “wows” and impresses visitors upfront, or do you want a warm, welcoming area that makes visitors feel comfortable and at home? Do you want your team members to enter your office through a brightly lit open area that facilitates interaction? How would elements like more natural light and communal areas impact your office dynamics? Within your office, do you want to foster more cross-selling between divisions and provide access to the latest technologies? Would your clients, partners and other stakeholders appreciate access to state-of- the-art conference rooms where they can conduct virtual meetings with clients and partners around the world?

4.  The decision makers. The key to achieving the optimum outcome for your office space is to gain consensus early in the process and to identify an appropriate group of decision makers who will be responsible for identifying the right space for the firm. Smaller groups tend to be nimbler and more effective than boards, which often leads to too many cooks in the kitchen and navigating numerous conflicting viewpoints. In some cases, it may also make sense to work with a designated office selection committee to develop a narrow list of potential properties to present to the company’s management for consideration.

5. The advisors. Finding the right office space can be a daunting task to undertake on your own, so it is crucial to identify the right advisors. Your advisor should conduct a comprehensive assessment, complete with thorough financial analyses and forecasts to demonstrate that it fully understands your current situation, and identify viable solutions that align with your future business goals. The firm should help guide your key decision makers through a brainstorming session that will help define your company’s immediate needs as well as looking ahead five, 10 and 20 years. This analysis will ultimately help you define and establish the priorities for your office space. When you have completed these steps, it is important to address the office search in phases:

Phase One: Begin by having your leadership team establish and reach consensus on vision, space criteria, timeline, and a recommended strategy. In the first phase, you must ensure that your company gets these parameters right. Toward that end, it may be advisable to issue a request for proposals to identify an appropriate architectural firm to conduct an occupancy analysis and confirm your optimal space programmatic needs. This will help you identify which industry best practices to incorporate as you identify the best ways to design and utilize your new office space. At this stage, it is also critical to have honest internal discussions with key executives to confirm the ideal design and utilization plan for the offices.

Phase Two: Develop a scorecard that establishes a basis that informs your decision-making process and helps you make the best selections. This scorecard should consider an array of key factors including geographic location, parking, on-site amenities, tenant services, walkability, and access to public transit.

At this stage, you should begin to engage the market with your established office requirements. Developing a short list of contenders and touring your top choices will give you greater leverage for your future tenancy as the current landlords and owners of prospective new locations begin recognizing your name and your interest. It also will ensure that your firm is well-positioned to secure the most favorable outcomes and seize immediate opportunities as they present themselves.

Phase 3: When the team has reached consensus on the top two or three options, your commercial real estate advisor should negotiate terms based on the criteria and benchmarks established in phases one and two. Then, your advisor should help you complete a lease or renewal amendment, and remain engaged with you throughout the process, from preliminary renovations to ultimately moving into the new space. Indeed, transitioning to “the workplace of the future” is an exciting moment that can be positively transformative for professional service companies. To ensure your business capitalizes on this important shift, it is critical to follow proven best practices and methodologies to ensure the best-possible results. Professional service firms that do this can gain a significant competitive advantage and better position themselves for continued success.

Tight Industrial Market Sees Rising Rents With Limited New Builds

Industrial vacancies were down across all three South Florida counties last year, and in land-tight South Florida, the pressure is on.

Broward County’s industrial market closed 2016 with record net absorption, the real estate sector’s yardstick for measuring industry growth. Tenants took over 2.5 million square feet of industrial space, the strongest figure seen in the past decade, according to Colliers International.

New supply, however, reached a four-year low of 491,000 square feet, while Broward’s average vacancy rate hit a 10-year low of 4.4 percent. In a world of tight supply, landlords have responded by raising rents. The average rental rate jumped $8.83 per square foot last year, a 19.5 percent increase in a year.

Broward is home to a more domestic market than Miami-Dade County. Companies operating in the aviation and pharmaceutical fields, among others, are expanding their South Florida presence in Broward.

Examples include Graybar Electric, which took 161,443 square feet at the Bridge Point Marina Mile in Dania Beach. Pet Supermarket signed for 97,000 square feet at Bridge Point Davie, and Floor & Decor inked a deal for 82,755 square feet at Bridge Point I-95 in Fort Lauderdale.

“Those are domestic firms that grew their footprint locally,” said Steve Wasserman, executive vice president with Colliers International in Fort Lauderdale.

Graybar, an industrial and electrical supply distributor, and flooring company Floor & Decor are both tied to commercial and residential development, Wasserman noted. Their growth signals confidence in Broward’s homebuilding sector.

Watery Site

While companies remain hungry for space, new supply has been scarce. It’s become increasingly difficult for industrial developers to build, Wasserman said. It’s difficult to secure entitled land, and the permitting process is time- consuming.

Denver-based DCT Industrial Trust joined forces with Miami’s Easton Group to build the Seneca Commerce Center in Pembroke Park. But the developers can’t break ground. A lake sits where the park will rise. The development team plans to fill about 37 acres of a lake formed by limestone mining.

“It’s indicative of how challenging it is to find land and entitlement to build,” Wasserman said of the proposed development.

The Seneca Commerce Center plans to add three buildings totaling 603,000 square feet. Two warehouses are nearby.

The lake would be filled in three phases, and the development team plans to start vertical construction on the first 222,000-square- foot facility at the end of the second quarter. The team has used the time before filling in the lake to secure county approval, said Todd Watson, senior vice president of DCT Industrial.

“I don’t think any developer goes out and says, ‘I want to fill in a lake,’ ” Watson said. “It is because we believe this is an absolute prime infill location.”

Rather than move west or further north, where the market has pushed developers looking for cheaper land, DCT chose to get creative.

“All of South Florida Is very much land-constrained,” he said, adding that the Seneca location near Interstate 95, Florida’s Turnpike and Interstate 75 appeals to regional and e-commerce users looking for warehousing space in the final leg of the distribution chain.

Some relief is on the way. About 1 million square feet of industrial property is under construction in Broward.

Big Leases

Miami-Dade also closed out 2016 with positive absorption. The average vacancy rate across the market was 4 percent, the same as the third quarter, according to Colliers.

Industrial users filled 2.54 million square feet of space last year. Vacancies will remain low for the next year because most of the new product is already spoken for, said Christopher Harak, a senior vice president with Blanca Commercial Real Estate in Miami.

NBCUniversal’s Telemundo inked a 550,000-square- foot lease deal with Prologis at Beacon Lakes Industrial Park, marking one of the most valuable commercial leases ever signed in Miami-Dade. Telemundo’s headquarters is under construction. KLX Aerospace Solutions signed the second largest industrial lease at Flagler Global Logistics’ Countyline Corporate Park in west Miami-Dade. Construction of the 500,000-square- foot built-to- suit facility will start this year.

The return is the thing for developers aiming to build in Miami-Dade, said Edward W. Easton, founder and CEO of the Easton Group. Pricey land coupled with high construction costs lead to a 5 percent return for a developer building and leasing a new building.

“There’s a lot of risk for that little bit of return, in my opinion,” Easton said.

Yet another 3.4 million square feet is under construction. A slight normalization is expected toward the second half of the year as new buildings are delivered, Colliers has found.

Right now rental rates stand at about $9.52 per square feet in Miami-Dade, a 7 percent annual increase.

Capital Inflows

While there’s quite a bit of supply in the pipeline, Easton pointed to a few factors that may further fuel demand over the next year. PortMiami is welcoming larger ships from the expanded Panama Canal, which carries the potential to bring in a lot more cargo in need of warehouse space.

The potential for lifting the U.S.-Cuba trade embargo is another. Further, medical marijuana may open new lines of business for the industry.

When Miami delivers its ambitious supply of condominium and apartment units this year, that will create additional demand. Easton said every new household in Miami generates demand for about 74 square feet of industrial space.

The market is solid and will remain so until too much inventory comes on the market — which he said won’t happen in the next year.

In the eyes of investors, South Florida’s industrial market is hot.

The recap from the 10th annual Industrial Owners Forum hosted by Colliers in February was, “Everybody wants to buy industrial assets in South Florida.”

Whether it’s a publicly traded real estate investment trust, an insurance company or foreign fund, the pressure to place money in South Florida is immense, Watson said.

“We are seeing at this moment a record amount of capital coming to the market looking to buy assets,” he said. “What does that do? [It’s] driving cap rates down further and further on existing assets with cash flow in place.”

But the pressures on the market stemming from the region’s land constraints makes it challenging to find a good deal.

“Miami is the most competitive market we see,” Watson said. “It’s not that large of a market and has so many constraints, yet the money coming there is absolutely ravenous.”

Tere Blanca Shines Light On New Trend Among Office Tenants

April 4, 2017

GlobeSt.com caught up with Chris Dekker, vice president of Mayfair Real Estate Advisors, the project’s developer, and Tere Blanca, president and CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, to get their take the types of tenants that flock to Coconut Grove. You can still read part one: Coconut Grove sees a 30-year first in commercial real estate development.

GlobeSt.com: What kind of tenants are most interested in taking Coconut Grove office space?

Dekker: Coconut Grove has emerged as a hotbed for entrepreneurial companies and global brands, including professional services firms, media companies, design firms, international finance, investment shops, and more. The offices at Mayfair in the Grove are a good example, which is home to major organizations like Publicis/Sapient, Crispin Porter, Regus, and GE as well as an assortment of local firms that make for a vibrant tenant mix.

The common denominator across companies at Mayfair in the Grove—and those that will relocate to Terra’s new class A development at Mary Street—is that they see value in locating in an urban, walkable neighborhood that still preserves the spirit of Coconut Grove. Mary Street will also appeal to busines decision-makers coming from points south who are seeking a shorter commute by comparison with traveling to Brickell and Downtown as well as those seeking office space benefiting from a modern architectural design.

 

GlobeSt.com: Are there specific amenities that are appealing to tenants touring new buildings in today’s market?

Blanca: The same way consumers are gravitating toward authentic, urban neighborhoods, we’re seeing office users trend toward walkable neighborhoods that offer a strong sense of community and rich amenity base. In many ways, Coconut Grove is an amenity itself and has already successfully attracted major brands including Sony Music, Sapient Nitro and Virgin Hotels.

 

Beyond that, tenants today value office space that enhances the lifestyle experience. At One CocoWalk, the office building is being designed with these needs in mind.

We’ll have favorable parking ratios, a rooftop terrace, a private entrance and lobby for office guests, office spaces with abundant natural light and waterfront views, and an on-site fitness center inside CocoWalk. The ownership is also planning to design and build One CocoWalk to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.